Devoted March 2019

Secular wedding and religious family?

SpringBride23, on June 4, 2017 at 1:17 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 13
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Hi everyone! So me and my fiancé want to have a secular wedding, however a good amount of our family is religious (they are not overly critical people, but they are very religious). Any advice on how to go about this? We are thinking of just doing the readings and vows and so on and that's it, however I feel like at the end of the ceremony when our families realize there is no prayer, no mention of anything religious, it may cause some issues on the big day. Any advice? ETA: My finance's family are the religious ones, and they do not know about us not being religious. We both grew up in very catholic households, however my parents are more understanding. I don't want to pretend to be something we're aren't however, I don't want to say a prayer and so on if we don't believe it. That's where we are caught up I suppose.


  • Sarah
    Super June 2017
    Sarah ·

    Presumably your families are aware you aren't as religious as they are, so won't be terribly surprised by a secular ceremony. Are they prone to drama? I feel this is just one of those things that would get talked about later rather than drama on the day of.

  • A.Magill.Since.May
    Master May 2018
    A.Magill.Since.May ·

    If they aren't very judgemental, you shouldn't have a problem. If they will judge you for having the ceremony that is right for you and FH, that's their problem and I would probably tell them to kick rocks.

    If they already know you aren't religious, it shouldn't surprise them when you don't have a lot of religion in your wedding.

    If you are more worried because your ceremony feels a little incomplete because you are used to weddings having that prayer at the end, and it's not actually about Grandma getting confused, then talk to FH and your officiant. There has to be secular words of wisdom or "blessings", wishes for you as a couple, that have that same moment of peace that a closing prayer would have.

    Your religious family may well take it as a prayer anyway, but you won't be caving on what you want or forcing something that isn't a genuine part of your life and marriage. ETA: I am not saying weddings without prayer are incomplete, I am just suggesting that maybe this is another reason OP, if she was raised in a very religious family and community, may feel apprehension about omitting it entirely, other than family drama.

  • Linds
    Master March 2017
    Linds ·

    My family is very religious. DH and I are not.

    As a result we picked thing that we're culturally important to us (he broke a glass, officiant read a modern 7 blessings for him) and to please my mom (who paid for the wedding) my 6 yr old nephew said grace before dinner.

  • Powers2
    Master April 2018
    Powers2 ·

    Your FH's family doesn't know he's not religious?

    And if they are Catholic, won't they realize right away when you aren't getting married in a Catholic Church ?

  • WED18
    July 1993
    WED18 ·

    I'm Catholic and my oldest daughter had a civil ceremony. Yes I was disappointed, but it's each couple's choice how they chose to marry. I think his family will understand, and will obviously know it's not a Catholic ceremony when it's not in the church.

  • Celia Milton
    August 2019
    Celia Milton ·

    A well written ceremony will be complete and inspiring whether or not there is religious content. That really is your call, not theirs. Your ceremony, more than any other element, is an expression of you two

  • S
    Super July 2018
    SLR ·

    Talk to the VIPs just to let them know maybe. Don't compromise on your ceremony! This is the one thing I refuse to back down on. I have religious family too but I really don't care what they think of the readings/vows. The content part is all us.

  • SpringBride23
    Devoted March 2019
    SpringBride23 ·

    Thanks everyone for the advice! His family does know we will not have our ceremony in a church, so yes I'm sure they have an idea. However I'm sure if we came out and told the family that we aren't including anything religious because of how we feel, it would make them fairly upset. We will proceed with our plans, im just crossing my fingers that once the ceremony is said and done (and when our feelings are pretty clear), there isn't a huge upset. Lol

  • The Trap Selena
    Master March 2016
    The Trap Selena ·

    Okay based on your other thread, you and FH need to learn how to just keep everyone out of the loop.

    Always be vague.

    "Kelsey, what scripture have you chosen to be read during your ceremony? Will there be a prayer?"

    "We haven't hammered out those details yet."

    Keep that line in your back pocket. Everyone in your families don't need to know the ins and outs of every wedding detail. They'll find out when they get there.

  • EngineerInLove
    VIP September 2018
    EngineerInLove ·

    My parents are disappointed we're not having a catholic ceremony but they are still being supportive. If FH's parents can kind of grease the wheels with the rest of his family that might help, just to let them know it's not going to be a religious ceremony. There might be some gossip about it because that's just what happens when people break tradition, but don't get defensive or feel you have to convince them it's the right choice for you.

  • Paige
    Devoted May 2018
    Paige ·

    Our very good friend is marrying us since we aren't religious either but FH's parents are. When they would ask if our good friend was in the wedding party, we would always say we have a special job for him. They caught on and eventually our friend (after he had a few drinks lol) told FH's parents that he will be marrying us. They were upset but have never said anything. They realized that it is our wedding and we are going to do what we want.

  • Celia Milton
    August 2019
    Celia Milton ·


    Get a pro. They have many reasons to be upset; the religious content is the least of them. (And bonus for him telling your FH's parents, when he was semi drunk, that he's going to be officiating.....)

  • Paige
    Devoted May 2018
    Paige ·

    Nope. Our friend is marrying us and we are very happy with our decision. I appreciate your concern though.

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